I hate being tricked. This is because I realize that when I am tricked, I feel like someone has robbed my trust. Trust is something that I do not like to give away at random.
It is too valuable. To be tricked is like falling into a trap door. You just walk into it by accident. It hurts to fall into it and feel like there is no escape.
I am not tricked in obvious places. That would not make much sense. My trap doors are usually set up in places where I am one step away from some sort of freedom. I fell into one the other day. In a place meant for absolute freedom: a Christian music festival.
The event was really designed to ignite passion. For me, the diverse sound and rhythm of ongoing worship music fuels my desire to pursue God to a deeper level. It sparks in me a contagious joy to dance, sing and praise Him from my heart. In-between the music, guest speakers share on how we can pursue a deeper level in our relationship with God.
So it happened in the most innocent of places, a place meant for freedom that comes through the knowledge of God. My friends and I felt so free to worship Jesus with no time restraints or cultural opposition.
Little did I know that there I was about to fall into an unexpected trap.
A trick set up right in my own mind! After a long, adrenaline rushed and spiritually charged day, I sat in a van with my friends and looked around. We were sweaty but content. But I also noticed things in my friends that were beginning to bother me.
It bothered me that Kristy was seemingly calling for too much of our attention. She shouldn’t talk to guys like that. It bothered me that Dan acted like he was too good for us. Why did he only talk to Rich and barely acknowledge our existence? It bothered me that Gina was too judgmental. As if she had more wisdom and favor than me.
These thoughts creeped into me like the plague. I was tricking myself to believe that I had this great spiritual insight and that could “see” through my own friends who I loved but began to judge.
I did not realize I was in this trap until we decided that we should pray during our ride home. Chris, armed with a guitar, played worship melodies as we sang. One by one, my friends began praying for each other and for our generation. It was then that God began to reveal to me my heart, numb from the trickery of judgment, pride and comparison.
The Bible story about the temple prostitute in the book of John immediately rushed into mind.
In the eighth chapter, Jesus goes to the temple to teach His people about God’s kingdom. It was a moment where the knowledge of God was meant to release a new freedom to the people. A freedom for the people to truly know the heart of God. But instead they chose to use this moment to look at each other.
“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery…they said to Him ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?” (John 8:3-5)
While we were praying in the van, I felt like I was both the woman who was saturated with sin and the Pharisees who judged the sins of others. Jesus of course is quick to show them that the trap of judgment would keep them locked away far from His kingdom and true heart. In fact, the Bible says that this whole event took place in the people’s court of judgment.
How could I be worthy to stand before Jesus?
“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (John 8:7)
One-by-one the people leave until Jesus is alone with the prostitute.
“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said ‘No one Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” (John 8:10,11)
In the court of God, we are given this awesome freedom, no matter how bad or sinful we think we are. However, it comes with a condition: that we chose to go, walk away from our own condemnation and sin.
While my friends continued to pray in our van during the long trip home, I quietly lifted up my own prayer with tears streaming down my eyes.
“Lord Jesus, thank You so much for the gift of these friends and that we can worship You together. You created us so differently from one another. We are like the different colors on a rainbow. It is only together that we complete Your beautiful picture. Forgive me Lord for looking at our differences with judgment in my eyes. Help me to truly love them with Your heart, and join them in serving You. Thank You that despite my own sins you choose to gaze at me with love, gently command me to sin no more, and allow me the privilege to walk in the victory of Your freedom.”
It is true that I hate feeling trapped, tricked and robbed of trust. But there is an escape. We can stand before Jesus knowing that He will restore the freedom that our minds can trick us out of.
Sarah HamiltonPrintable View